tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC February 18, 2013 11:00pm-12:00am PST
his father knew someone who had actually written the bill, is that right? >> i believe so. >> the bill for ratification in the bill for mississippi. all ken had to do was go down there and pick up his copy of the bill. >> and ken, what was your sense as to why after being voted on 139 years later in 1995, the mississippi legislature votes on it. why did the state of mississippi never pass it onto washington for the official finality? >> you know there could be a lot of speculation to that. he may not have received it. it is my understanding, from what i have researched, that that resolution was passed in what they call a block vote. there were several resolutions blocked together that was read in whole. and the senate just did a voice vote. and that block of resolutions
passed. so in that block of resolutions it could have been just gotten shuffled to the bottom and never found. it could have -- it could have been understood that it was completed. that the legislature had voted on it. whatever happened, i have no idea. it would be total speculation. >> well -- >> and the surprise here is the fellow at usconstitution.net that somehow figured out that mississippi was not in full ratification. >> well, we're very glad you saw that movie, dr. butra, and ken sullivan, you and dr. butra, mississippi owes you a debt to the state and constitution. thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> it's president's day. going to the mattress, let's play "hardball."
>> good evening, let me start tonight with this big one. is barack obama going for it? is he becoming one of the great president presidents in history? i'm talking to use his word, "transformational." and is he using the country's historic demographic shift to do it? can he combine the new american power of hispanics with the immediate aspirations of women to lob himself into the highest level of presidential greatness? this is what his adversaries fear. they look at his working of the gun safety crusade. his distancing of himself from triumphing over the hard, often bizarre right wing of this country toe do it. i've got to msnbc political
analysts to answer the question. howard fineman and joy reid. first of all, i want to ask you both about these numbers here. these are numbers for the next election, 2014. right now the democrats are about 17 votes shy of taking over the house of representatives. they're about five votes ahead of where they have to be to hold the senate. can they do it? can barack obama leave office having won back the united states congress and then, of course, aiming toward the second goal of his greatness, getting the democrat to replace him, hillary or joe biden. >> on the congressional side, history generally tends to be against presidents in midterm elections. they don't tend to do so well. they tend to lose seats historically, but i think -- >> clinton didn't. >> i think there are exceptions. what barack obama is counting on is a combination of sort of wearing down the republican party. there is a sense of
demoralization on the right, and if you can tamp down that turnout because essentially you're throwing so many issues at the republican base -- >> yeah. >> they almost can't resist it, and at the same time you're hiking up the excitement and keeping the level of excitement among minority voters high. i think the stuff they're doing on immigration is in part designed to do both of those things at once. >> unpack that bag. what does his throwing out that thing, whoever threw it out, his plan on immigration reform, how does that bring out, spook out, whatever you want to call it, the republican right so they make exactly the presentation he wants them to make so the hispanics, for example, will say i'm not joining that party? >> they did it to themselves. look at the reflexive reaction of a marco rubio, of leaders in that party. the reflexive reaction to that leak of those ideas was absolutely not, this is dead on arrival, rather than a more thoughtful response -- >> we'll push the cheese out. the mouse comes out and goes for it, snap, he nails them. for the people who didn't catch the story, "u.s.a. today" got ahold of a white house draft proposal on immigration and reported in part, quote, it
would allow illegal immigrants to become legal permanent residents within eight years. the plan would also provide for more security funding and require business owners to check the immigration status of new hires within four years. in addition, the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants could apply for a newly created lawful prospective immigrant visa under the draft bill being written by the white house. if approved, they could apply for the same provisional legal status for their spouse or children living outside the country according to the draft. in response, florida senator marco rubio issued the following statement. it reads in part. this legislation is half-baked and seriously flawed. it would actually make our immigration problems worse and would further undermine the american people's confidence in washington's ability to enforce our immigration laws and reform our broken immigration system. yesterday republicans were also quick to criticize. >> leaks don't happen in washington by accident. this raises the question that many of us continue to wonder about.
does the president really want a result or does he want another cudgel to beat up republicans so he can get political advantage in the next election? >> leaking this out does set things in the wrong direction. look, the question that we always have to ask ourselves, particularly with this white house, is the president looking for a partisan advantage or is he looking for a bipartisan law? >> this is the president torpedoing his own plan and shows me that he's really not serious. there are many people who think democrats bring up these ideas as wedge issues. they don't really ever want to pass them because then they would no longer have the republicans to blame. >> you know, not -- i can't bring up the geek factor because it's not fair, but the republican young breed aren't even as cool as john mccain. mccain is pretty cool as a personality. these guys, this new crowd. the key word in what john mccain said there was another, another cudgel. >> yeah. >> there's been -- in other words, the democrats have had the upper hand now for weeks now, if not months, and he's just saying -- when he said they've got more cudgels to beat us up with, that told me everything.
>> it's even better because the president to some extent stands on the sidelines while they self-cudgel. they're beating themselves up. >> i think that's a six -- >> the president i'm perhaps belatedly coming to realize is really deft at using the outside game, which is how he started, social media, et cetera, using public sentiment and the outside game to pressure the congress without doing it himself directly in a way that divides the other party and forces them to come to him. he makes them come to him because -- he's for the most part hands off. we're saying why isn't he lbj or lincoln? that's not how this president operates. he operates with public sentiment from the outside. he deftly puts that stuff out there. the republicans tear themselves to pieces, and just enough of them come along with him to get
the jobs done. >> what do you make of that? i think it's a good analysis because -- it's also part of what you said before, just hit them with so many things at once. if flusters them. and then they just sort of break into a thousand pieces and they come back at -- >> and all they say is no. >> the sunday talk shows are no friend of the republican party because the people that desperately want to get on those shows are not the ones they should want desperately to be on those shows. >> right. i think what -- >> the tea party is always ready for sunday. >> exactly. no, i think you're right. it just goes to show you that this president has learned from his first term. this is not the way he started out. if you look at the first term, he was like one singular issue, health care. this is what i want to do. he turned it largely over to the senate. he said, listen, we want this to be in congress because he wanted buy in. he kept trying to get buy in, and he left the public sentiment part alone, which is why the tea party was able to rise. he wanted that one big thing. that was his big move for history was health care, and he left a lot of the dealmaking and the sausage making to congress -- >> is it enough for him? >> no, i think now he feels now --
>> he's still doing it that way only now he's added the public opinion part. >> go to the public, shake up the other side, constant pummeling until they finally come apart. i agree. they have not shown a great solidarity around mcconnell and the rest of them. they're all going the wrong way because of the sunday talk show. >> the president has the advantage of a united democratic party. >> you and i didn't grow up with that. >> it was the other way around. >> democrats in disarray was the boilerplate. hillary helped. >> this strategy -- hillary helped.
>> he grades himself on a tough curve. i remember when i visited him in his senate office years ago. the pictures he had on the wall were gandhi, lincoln, muhammad ali, and thurgood marshall. >> where was hannibal? >> hannibal wasn't there. but thurgood marshall was there, ali was there, gandhi was there, lincoln was there. that's the way he thinks of himself, and i think he's going to strive very hard to reach those goals that joy talked about. also more prosaically, he's got to make sure health care gets properly implemented. because if it doesn't -- and it's moving in his direction. >> right. >> and he plays -- you know, he's patient. one of the things about this president he'll always be known for in the history books is patience.
he's patiently worked this, put the federal money out there. the republican red states are going to come to him on medicare and health care. it's going to end up being in their interest to implement it in the long run. >> patience is a great -- i believe he's riding the course of history, the country is getting browner. it's getting less white, getting more open towards same-sex marriage certainly. women are getting -- much bigger 20, 30 years from now than they are now. all the causes he seems to have basically mounted are going to be stronger so that those people who are going to be calling the shots and who was the greatest president 20 years from now will be his allies. >> not only that -- >> you actually said it before i did. i want to check the tape. how did you know i was going to say that? go ahead. >> that's a good point because the victors write the history. >> if you look at where black and brown voters are going, they're coming to him on issues. let's not underestimate getting republicans to vote for a tax increase is so demoralizing it has undermined them with their own base. he has them at an incredibly vulnerable place.
>> the first reaction was, oh, obama gave -- on certain parts of the left, the reaction was obama gave away the store. actually strategically and psychologically, as joy says, it was a huge victory. >> if he were watching, i know he's playing golf with some rich guys. >> i'm going to disneyland. >> he's not a '60s guy. if he were hearing us talk about him mounting mt. rushmore, getting up there with the great presidents, secretly what would he be thinking? that's exactly what i'm doing? >> i don't think he would ever admit to that, but you have to believe whenever any of these guys run for president, they all think about it. >> it's about children. it's about the other people. i'm sorry. i'm sarcastic sometimes. president's day i should not be sarcastic. thank you so much. selling the war in iraq. now information on how the bush administration decided from the very start to link saddam hussein to 9/11 to justify a u.s. invasion of that country. ten years later the
administration's shameless deceit remains as disturbing as ever. also, is it time to get rid of the voting rights act? i wonder. i doubt it. an alabama county has filed a suit that's reached the supreme court saying with a black man in the white house, there's no need for federal protection of minority votes. tell that to reince priebus. as you imagine, not everyone agrees. teams of rivals. the rivalries between presidents, obama versus clinton, bush versus bush. our different takes on presidents. and this just in, mississippi ratifies the 13th amendment. the one ending slavery. what took so long? what do you think? details coming up. this is "hardball," the place for politics. hey, it's sara. i'm going pro. i've been using crest pro-health for a week. my dentist said it was gonna help transform my mouth. [ male announcer ] go pro. for a clean that's up to four times better, try these crest pro-health products together. [ sara ] i've been using crest pro-health. so far...it feels different. [ male announcer ] crest pro-health protects not just some, but all these areas dentists check most. my mouth feels healthier. it feels cleaner. i think my dentist is gonna see the difference.
[ male announcer ] go pro with crest pro-health. i don't think i'll ever go back to another product. see. or treat gas with these after you get it. now that's like sunblock before or sun burn cream later. oh, somebody out there's saying, now i get it! take beano before and there'll be no gas. your soups are so awesomely delicious my husband and i can't stop eating 'em! what's...that... on your head? can curlers! tomato basil, potato with bacon... we've got a lot of empty cans. [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. having failed once to rig the electoral college for republicans, the republican president of pennsylvania's state senate is trying a new scheme. in 2011 dominic pileggi proposed to distribute electoral votes based on results in congressional districts, which would have given romney the majority of votes in that state
despite winning only 47% of the vote. now he's proposing to divide the electoral votes proportionally to each candidate, which would have given president obama 12 of the state's 20. that's not a majority. republicans have lost pennsylvania in all of its electoral votes for six straight presidential elections. that, of course, is the reason they're doing that rigmarole. we'll be right back.
welcome back to "hardball." next month will mark ten years since the iraq war was launched amid of flood of misinformation, obfuscation, and fear that flowed from the white house to the american people. as we get further away from the event, however, new evidence is emerging there was far more dissent within the administration and the military than was previously known. plus, we're getting more details on just how this war was sold to the american people. it's all laid out in a new brilliant msnbc documentary airing tonight on this network, "hubris, the selling of the iraq war" hosted by rachel maddow and
based on the book by mike isikoff and david corn. congratulations, you have won the george polk award, the biggest one in this industry. incredible reporting on mitt romney's 47% comments, which you broke. >> thanks, chris. >> and your magazine. vice president dick cheney sold the iraq war with conviction and certitude. i wouldn't call it conviction. it wasn't necessarily shared by others in the organization, including anthony zinni. let's listen to him being overwhelmed by the deceit of cheney. >> simply stated, there is no doubt that saddam hussein has weapons of mass destruction. there is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us. >> i had a seat at the stage next to the lectern where he was speaking, and i literally bolted at that. >> with our help, a liberated iraq can be a great nation once again. >> vice president dick cheney's speech to the veterans of foreign wars is the opening
salvo of the bush administration's effort to sell to the american people what white house insiders call the product. >> thank you very much. >> it was a shock. it was a total shock. i couldn't believe the vice president was saying this, and doing work with the cia through all the briefings i heard at langley, i never saw one piece of credible evidence that there was an ongoing program. >> this is what's so stunning about your report tonight, your book and everything. just documents the fact that the people who knew more than the big shots in the white house, including cheney, knew it wasn't there, that he just bs'd his way into that war. >> cheney said there was no doubt in that -- >> that's his avuncular manner. >> no doubt they were amassing weapons to attack the united states with. zinni and many others within the intelligence and national security establishment, which we read about in the book, through this was plenty of doubt, that in all the major factors that they would bring to bare, aluminum tubes and yellow cake, there was always dissent,
someone saying we're not so sure about this intelligence. it's rather iffy. >> why did cheney say otherwise? >> zinni, just to underscore how significant it was, he was centcom commander since 2007. his view of the intelligence was what the u.s. military's view was right up to 2001, which is saddam's much less of a threat today than he had been ten years earlier. the weight of sanctions are closing in on him. >> everything -- >> his ability -- >> centcom -- the chief military guy in fighting the war. the chief guy. let's take a look at another example. vice president cheney in a pattern repeated over and over as he sold the iraq war. it would ignore all evidence that didn't make his, cheney's, case. he tried to draw the connection between saddam hussein and the ringleader of the 9/11 hijackers, mohamed atta. remember his face. despite the fact that this link had been debunked totally by the
fbi counterterrorism agent who was then detailed to the cia. here is more from the documentary, "hubris." >> from prague comes a czech intelligence report of a photograph allegedly showing mohamed atta meeting with a high ranking iraqi intelligence officer. the photograph of the supposed meeting is never made publicly available. >> mohamed atta was a slight guy, barely 5'5", 5'6" and skinny. the guy in the photograph was muscular and thick and had a neck the size of two of my necks. that's not mohamed atta in the photograph. sent it to the lab anyway. in my mind the matter is put to bed. >> but even without definitive evidence, the vice president goes public with it. >> it's been pretty well confirmed that he did go to prague, and he did meet with a senior official of the iraqi intelligence service in czechoslovakia last april. >> i was sitting in my den in my home in washington, d.c., and i
remember looking at the tv screen saying what did i just hear? and first time in my life i actually threw something at the television because i couldn't believe what i had just heard. >> you guys are pros at this as reporters. i want to get to the final one. the nail in the coffin. you guys know almost everything there is to know about this. what was the motive for cheney to take us into this war if it wasn't the evidence? >> it certainly wasn't the fact that iraq was a major wmd threat working with al qaeda against us. i think maybe some regrets over what happened with the first gulf war. i think -- but after 9/11, you know, sort of a fuse kind of popped for him, and he said we have to go out against these guys again and again. he bought the neocon line that saddam hussein -- >> did he buy it or were they both -- >> i think they were of a similar mindset. >> cheney doesn't -- didn't
consent to an interview, but doug feith is in this film, and he says some very revealing things. the purpose after 9/11 was to shock the sponsors of state terrorism to get them to change their policies. that's his quote in this film. now -- >> which isn't what they told the public. >> it's not what they told the public, and it was not about changing policy as i think your last bite here will show because it's very clear this was never about changing policies. >> this is what they will want to watch tonight, michael. the documentary which you really were behind includes the talking points from a november 2001 meeting held by secretary of defense donald rumsfeld. on the agenda was, how start? those were the notes. how start? meaning the iraq war. with bullet points that included these potential pretexts. u.s. discovered saddam connection to 9/11 attack or anthrax attacks. dispute over wmd inspections. start now thinking about inspection demands. in other words, start putting together the pretext. we didn't have a war. we didn't have a reason for a war.
we were looking for a reason for a war. >> we didn't have a bona fide threat. at any time they were free to go to the public and say, you know what? this is what doug feith thinks, this is what we think, we're not so sure, but we still think we ought to do something. they never did that. they were looking for a pretext, as you say. they were phonying up the case. in another part of the film, lawrence wilkinson, chief of staff to colin powell, said he and colin powell participated in what he called a hoax. unintentionally, but he called it a hoax. >> one of the things i could never understand, at the time i didn't either, the hawks in the middle east believe somehow if you could break apart one of the arab front line states were rejectionist, the road through -- to jerusalem goes through baghdad. if you broke one of them, they
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if i were two-faced, would i be wearing this one? no stranger to self-deprecating jokes about his appearance. that was honest abe. i discovered being president is like riding a tiger. a man has to keep on riding or be swallowed. that's from the great give 'em hell harry truman. up next, why some people think this is the time to get rid of the voting rights act. i'm not one of them. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics.
folks like her would get to have their say. hour after hour, a throng of people stayed in line to support her because desalene is 102 years old, and they erupted in cheers when she finally put on a sticker that read i voted. >> welcome back to "hardball." it was that moment in barack obama's state of the union message that the efforts of voter disenfranchisement that took place in 2012 got a face. a 102-year-old's face. in nine states highlighted here, dozens of counties and municipalities, a part of the voting rights action called section five requires any changes that would affect voting in those places must be cleared by the u.s. department of justice. as this headline in today's "new york times" shows, this part of the voting rights act is being challenged today as, quote, a cure the south has outgrown.
but given the efforts of voter disenfranchisement in this past election, it's not clear that the patient is cured. i don't think it is. and this map shows the states that have made it harder to vote since 2010 -- a lot of northern states -- by cutting back early voting, requiring photo i.d. cards. we have a generalist, msnbc contributor joan walsh. she's like me. and judith browne dianis of the advancement project. welcome, joan, and happy mattress day. i'm not sure what we celebrate today besides selling mattresses but -- i don't know how that ever happened. but let's talk about this very serious topic with judith. congratulations, judith, on bringing that wonderful woman of 102 up to washington. she waited in line how many hours? >> she waited in line three hours, standing. it was a six-hour wait, and she was told to come back after the three-hour wait. >> one of the great things that lbj did after the death of kennedy in the mid-'60s was the voting rights act. first the civil rights act and then the voting rights act.
one was public accommodations. and then the voting rights act was an attempt to give real power to black people by saying if you want power down the road in any area, you got to vote. and you couldn't vote in the south. >> right. >> because, what was the reason most people were kept from voting -- the reason for the voting rights act? what were the tricks used? >> it was the poll taxes where you had to pay to vote. you had grandfather clauses that said that certain people could vote if they had done something -- they had land at a particular time, and then you had literacy tests where you had to read and pass a test in order to vote. and the voting rights act outlawed that. it really was -- the voting rights act really is our statute that ensures that the 15th amendment to the constitution is guaranteed, but also guarantees the fact we are all equal in this country. >> now today just to continue with your expertise, so many states, including my own in pennsylvania, have polled these numbers, come out with real i.d.
cards, people in their 70s and 80s won't be able to get one, court struck that down. how does that play? >> it clearly shows section five of the voting rights act is still needed because, in fact, we saw states making it harder for particular groups of people like african-americans and latinos to vote in this election, and so those laws, for example, in texas and south carolina, those laws, those voter i.d. laws, were put on hold specifically because section five came in and the department of justice objected to those laws. >> joan, you and i talk generally about politics, and the thing we talk about a lot, you and i, is this new sort of civil war or continual civil war in this country where a lot of people on the right would like to keep it going. you know, they want to fight the cause still. they want to fight the federal government. they like states rights. they like secession, nullification, they like setting their own voting rules because they want to have the same thing they had once before, which is
mainly a more -- higher proportion of whites making the calls. >> well, right, and what we've seen now is it's not restricted to the south. it's going on a lot in the south. that list of states you showed showed people who made it harder to vote. -- also northern states as well, and in a better world i suppose you'd extend section five, you certainly wouldn't cut it back. alabama has a point in one sense when it says, hey, we're not the only ones. i don't know if they're the worst. this is something -- and sadly it is something that's become really a partisan thing because we all remember that while lbj and jfk were democrats, they were new democrats. the democratic party had a shameful history in terms of voting rights suppression, and they were fighting democratic governors in the south, and they also relied on the votes of republican senators and congress people in the north. so the party sort of switched sides. now you have north and south republican governors, not democratic governors, republican
state legislators working hard to disenfranchise black voters but also sort of the obama coalition. so not only african-americans, but latinos, younger voters, poorer voters, and in states like florida where older people vote democratic, you know, older people, too. it's really a pervasive and pernicious new crusade. >> joan, to make your point, here is mike turzai, the republican leader in pennsylvania, admitting basically that the reason they're making the laws tougher setting up the voting i.d. system is to win the election. let's watch. >> voter i.d., which is going to allow governor romney to win the state of pennsylvania, done. >> you know, judith, i was thinking that -- i mean there's a lot of polarization on both sides, left and right, black and white. first african-american president is going to do incredibly well among african-americans.
i was thinking in alabama and mississippi, alabama, mississippi is like 85% of the white vote went for romney. 89% of alabama. so if you can repress the black vote down there and make it irrelevant. >> that's right. this is why we have to have the voting rights act because we know that racially polarized voting still happens. black people will -- actually have always had a history of voting for black and white candidates. white people and especially in the south still vote for white candidates. and so we have to have these laws in place that get us to free, fair, and accessible elections, and section five is one of those. the voting rights act has been key to breaking down and making sure that these laws that would take away the right to vote actually don't get implemented. >> you know what i'm thinking again about the demographic fight. i'm going to talk about it at the end of the show. if president obama does have a political strategy to rebuild the democratic party as the dominant political party and his plan is to use demographic shifts as part of that, hispanics especially and young people and the issues of marriage equality and things
like that that really shift the demographics in this country, this issue is the heart of it, isn't it? they see what he's doing, and they're going to try to fight it by getting rid of the voting rights act. >> he knows this issue is the heart of it, and they know it maybe even better. and that's why we've seen such a backlash especially just since 2008 really, chris, where these tactics have moved north and you have states like ohio and wisconsin and pennsylvania doing it, too. so we need to be more vigilant, not less. >> the funny thing, the whole country is on the same page. they know exactly what's -- both sides know exactly the stakes. they know the trend of history, and one is riding the trend of history, obama, the others are fighting it, and we all know what we're doing. thank you very much, joan walsh, thank you very much, judith. great get the other night. as we say in our business, great get. up next on the president's day agenda, presidential rivals, bush versus his father for their place in history. of course, the old question we always ask, are bill clinton and
call it the revenge of obama care. for years republicans have relentlessly tried to hang obama care around the president's neck and use it to destroy his popularity, but on abc's "this week" yesterday, romney campaign manager stuart stevens said it was the popularity of the obama care among hispanic voters that helped the president drive up his numbers. let's listen to stuart.
>> the greatest appeal that the obama campaign had for hispanic voters turned out to be obama care, and they ran a tremendous amount of their advertising appealing to hispanic voters. it was the only place in their advertising where they talked about obama care was to the hispanic community because an extraordinary percentage of hispanic voters are uninsured. >> wow. president obama beat romney among hispanics, as we know, 71% to 27%. we'll be right back.
course, have been written about the exclusive club now. the exclusive club among presidents, relationships forged through the powerful singular experience of being elected occasionally are rivals. amateur psychologists might have a field day teasing out whether "w" was trying to compete with dad in his unfinished business by invading iraq and going after saddam. and the so-called black president, he was called that, bill clinton, was accused by some of racism for comments he made while barack obama was beating hillary clinton to the democratic nomination in 2008. by the way, all of these presidents and jimmy carter will gather in two months at the dedication of george w. bush's library at southern methodist. that's down in dallas. >> anyway, david marinis the is the author of this book. author of "barack obama, the
story," a great book. james moore, he is our other guest, has covered the bushes for decades. he is the co-author of "bush's brain." james, i want to start you. you look at all of this, you look at everything w. did as president, going into iraq, being a hawk in the middle east, cutting taxes, everything he did seemed to be a 180 from the old man. that a fair thing to look at in personal terms? >> i think in the case of bush, chris, you almost had an in-house rivalry. the accomplishments and interests of every father informed the sort of life that unfolds for their son. but bush was always trying to outdo his dad. whether it was in oil or baseball or being governor instead of a congressman. and i think what happened in iraq as you suggested earlier is w. didn't think it was enough to kick saddam out of kuwait. he wanted to upstage his father and chase saddam all the way to iraq and capture him and ultimately be responsible for his execution. he has his gun on his wall when he is president. i think that that was his way of saying i'm a bigger, tougher guy than you. and ultimately, it's going to be his legacy that it cost a lot of
lives and a lot of treasure for more than one country to make that happen. and that was an important part of the psychology between the two men that drove that whole thing. >> i agree with this. i see all the points that i add them up, i connect them. you're basically saying here, and anybody that agree with you, and maybe i agree with you, you're accusing this guy of the worst case of narcissism. like this presidency, this planet, life as a human being is all about what i want to do for my own personal reason that has nothing to do with anyone else, just me. i want to beat dad. that's a hell of an accusation if you think of it. >> listen, understand. that is a significant part of what drove this guy. but beyond that, you also have to remember there were economic forces. there were geopolitical forces, and there were political forces within the republican party that had decided w. was the guy. that just happened to coincide with this thing that he had had going on with his father forever and ever. and i think we see this over and over as sort of convergence of historical and political forces that end up taking us places
that we otherwise might not go. >> i don't believe any other president would have taken us into iraq that was the dumbest thing in history. >> i don't either. >> can't even think of that. we all remember that bitter rivalry in 2008 only five years ago between then candidate barack obama and former president bill clinton. but it was when obama praised former president ronald reagan that clinton really took offense. let's listen to this point in history. >> i think ronald reagan changed the trajectory of america in a way that, you know, richard nixon did not, and in a way that bill clinton did not. >> i'm sure bill clinton didn't hear that. anyway, president clinton landed in hot water after he compared candidate obama's primary victory down in south carolina to that of jesse jackson's years earlier. some accused clinton of marginalizing obama as the black candidate. let's watch. >> jesse jackson won south carolina twice in '84 and '88. and he ran a good campaign. and senator obama is running a good campaign. he is a good candidate.
>> well, there you have it. let me ask you about a deeper question, not the cheap shots or the obvious analysis based on either sides point of view, david. you know this better than anybody. but the natural rivalry, the stuff that just happens because you have to be a rival. if barack obama is a transformational president, meaning he is the guy that did health care. he is the guy that has his successor elected, a democratic successor elected. he is the guy that starts a real era. can he win and the clintons not win? i mean -- can they both win, or is there a natural rivalry here between the two of them on history? >> well, there is a natural rivalry. but right now they're inextricably linked. i think that's what is interesting about this moment in history. for time really starting with the last campaign. bill clinton was needed by barack obama, and clinton loves to be needed. and i think that carries forward. i don't think that dynamic will change now. that for both of them to establish what they want in
history, they need each other. but it's also true. and the reason bill clinton reacted so strongly to that -- that comment about ronald reagan is because bill clinton understood some of the truth of that. he always realized that he was sort of a transitional presidency, that he didn't -- and he regretted that he didn't have the opportunity, he felt, to be a great president because no crisis arose that allowed him that shot. and for that reason, for the fact that barack obama truly is the first black president, whereas bill clinton was sort of symbolically and loved the better part of his nature was his idealism about race. for those reasons, it created some problems between them. but in politics, both of these men realized there are no permanent friends and no permanent enemies, and they need each other right now. >> speaking of that right now, did clinton like your book? >> well, at the time he kept complaining about it. but then reading it aloud to his staff. i think he liked 50% of the book.
>> does obama like your book? >> i have no clue, and that's really not that important to me most of president obama's cabinet has read the book. so there must be some method there. >> thank you sir, and david maraniss. we'll be right back. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. it's hard to turn off and go back to sleep. intermezzo is the first and only prescription sleep aid approved for use as needed in the middle of the night when you can't get back to sleep. it's an effective sleep medicine you don't take before bedtime. take it in bed only when you need it and have at least four hours left for sleep. do not take intermezzo if you have had an allergic reaction to drugs containing zolpidem, such as ambien. allergic reactions such as shortness of breath or swelling of your tongue or throat may occur and may be fatal. intermezzo should not be taken if you have taken another sleep medicine at bedtime or in the middle of the night or drank alcohol that day. do not drive or operate machinery
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